OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Chris Herrmann’s career in Oakland got off to a rough start with a knee injury that required surgery in spring training. When he finally made it back to the big leagues, he sure made the most of his debut.
Herrmann became the first player to hit a grand slam in his first game for Oakland and the A’s went on to beat the Minnesota Twins 8-6 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “It’s been a grind. I can’t thank my family enough for all the support I had the past three months. There were times where I didn’t even think I’d be able to play this year. … Just to come out here and to hit a grand slam in my first game with the team is awesome.”
Herrmann was activated from the injured list before the game and thrown right into the lineup by manager Bob Melvin. He made an immediate impact in his debut when he connected off All-Star Jake Odorizzi (10-4) to give the A’s a 6-3 lead in the fourth inning.
The first three batters reached in the fourth against Odorizzi, who was then visited by manager Rocco Baldelli and the trainer with the count 1-1 on Herrmann. Odorizzi stayed in the game and Herrmann hit the next pitch out to center field.
“Nice little impact when you hit a home run period, let alone a grand slam,” Melvin said. “It makes you feel like you belong pretty quickly with the team.”
Odorizzi was then replaced after throwing two balls to the next hitter with a blister on his right middle finger. He will be placed on the injured list and miss the All-Star Game.
“If it’s any other finger I can get through it,” he said. “It’s just that’s the worst spot for a blister to happen. It’s more like one of those perfect storm type of areas, right on the corner and in front. If I stay behind the ball it still burns, and on the side with my slider and split it burns on that side, too. It’s every pitch.”
Odorizzi allowed six runs — five earned — and four hits in three-plus innings. He is 0-2 with an 8.76 ERA in his past three starts following a 10-game winning streak.
Matt Olson added a two-run homer, Mark Canha hit a solo shot and Robbie Grossman had an RBI single for the A’s, who have won 11 of 14 games.
Daniel Mengden (3-1) allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Liam Hendriks pitched the ninth for his third save.
Jason Castro hit two solo homers and Miguel Sano had a two-run shot for the Twins. That gave Minnesota 160 homers this season, one shy of the major league record for most before the All-Star break set by the Yankees last season.
Twins: RHP Zack Littell will be called up from Triple-A Rochester to replace Odorizzi. … LHP Adalberto Mejía was activated from the 60-day injured list. Mejía missed 56 games with a right calf strain. He allowed one run and three hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Athletics: Melvin said he was relieved OF Stephen Piscotty has no major ligament tear in his right knee after hurting it on a slide this past weekend. Piscotty could still miss a month with a sprained knee. … LHP Sean Manaea (shoulder) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session. If he comes out of his next bullpen session feeling well he could be ready to start a rehab assignment.
The defensive play of the game came from Twins LF Marwin Gonzalez, who made a one-hop throw home from the wall in left field to nail Canha at the plate in the fifth inning. Canha was trying to score from first on a double by Ramón Laureano.
Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ death on Monday hit the Twins especially hard. 1B C.J. Cron and pitchers Blake Parker and Mike Morin all played with Skaggs on the Angels and were close with him. Cron and Morin had “TS45” on their hat in tribute to Skaggs’ number and Morin pointed to the sky when he walked off the field after the eighth inning.
“It is devastating,” Baldelli said. “It’s incredibly sad. I couldn’t imagine being the Anaheim Angels right now. We have several guys that didn’t just know Tyler Skaggs but were very, very close with him. I don’t think this is something the baseball community ever gets over when something like this happens. I think it stays with you for a very long time.”
Mike Fiers (8-3) looks to win his seventh straight decision when takes the mound for the A’s in the middle game of the series against Kyle Gibson (8-4). Fiers is 6-0 with a 2.39 ERA in his last 10 starts.
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